Job seekers who want to send a resume and cover letter to Zappos for open positions are in for a surprise. The e-retailer removed job postings from its career page. It’s not that Zappos isn’t hiring — a company with thousands of employees is always recruiting — but it wants to get to know people before there’s a job posting at stake. The career page invites visitors to become "insiders" by signing up and starting conversations with different teams inside Zappos.
The Zappos approach is just one example of a Web 3.0 talent community, a loosely defined buzzword that describes a variety of online communities where companies and individuals come together to talk about areas of similar interest. HR teams are tapping into LinkedIn groups, CRM systems and branded sites to grow organic conversations with people who share interests relevant to the company missions. The goal of these communities is to shift from a short-term, immediate-hire mindset to an evergreen recruiting strategy that values meaningful relationships and shared interests.
For Marvin Smith, talent community strategist at Lockheed Martin, the litmus test for a true talent community (as opposed to a network or pipeline of candidates) is that members can speak to each other—not just read about a company’s culture or receive email alerts for job openings. Smith and his team built Military Connect, a Lockheed Martin-branded talent community that helps service members retain professional knowledge and connect with fellow veterans. He shared with us a few lessons for cultivating communities that last:
5 Steps to Building a Talent Community
1. Build from within: The most important part of building a community is internal support, Smith says. For instance, Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson has spearheaded several internal initiatives around diversity and inclusion, and Smith’s team will launch a talent community around these issues in 2015. "If you don’t have that foundation of people that are passionate around that subject or passionate around whatever it is that you’re trying to accomplish, it won’t work," he says.
2. Think in marketing terms: Marketers use a variety of tools to have two-way conversations with customers, from HubSpot’s inbound marketing platform to innovative customer service approaches to social media interactions. Their goal isn’t much different from HR’s: Engage people by building rapport and brand awareness. Smith says HR should take a cue from the marketing playbook: "If the community is going to last and going to be able to solve problems, be able to get an ROI, then you’re going to have to think more about it in marketing terms than in just hires, because the community is more of a longer-term strategy."
3. Create personas: Just as brands think about their target customers, Smith and his team consider personas for their talent community audience. They built Military Connect to engage three groups: people thinking about leaving the military, people in transition from the military to civilian life, and veterans who’ve made the transition but haven’t found their dream jobs. "Let’s give people information that would help in each of those cases and see if we can solve some of the problems and the challenges that each of those personas are facing," he says. It must be working. About 25 percent of the 2000 community members have applied for jobs.
4. Take your time: The last thing HR managers want to do is launch a community before it’s ready. "We typically start slow, test the community, make sure everything’s right, maybe have a couple thousand people on it and then make revisions and so forth and then go live with it," Smith says. Remember, it’s a long-term strategy and not one that should be devised overnight.
5. Constantly curate: Content keeps a brand top-of-mind, whether or not the company is hiring. Managers should continue to engage talent communities with relevant articles and conversation-starters that make people think about their industry or areas of personal interest. Smith curates 200 different sources every day and he has an internal group of people who comment and share those articles with different people. "It’s an indirect way of staying top-of-mind, bringing value to that group of people, and then when somebody is looking, it’s very natural for them to inquire of Lockheed Martin people, what do you have going?" he says.
So what's next for talent communities? Smith says they'll create more personalized experiences, similar to the relationships that headhunters built with individuals before the Internet boom. "We all have access to the same people, but it's going to be the ones with a relationship that are going to win the day," he says.
Want to keep learning? Explore our products, customer stories, and the latest industry insights.
Introducing an exclusive partnership with WaitWhat's Masters of Scale for an entirely new learning experience
You asked for popular podcast modalities and we delivered through a partnership with WaitWhat’s Masters of Scale. Check out lessons about building teams, developing products and scaling companies from the world's top leaders, now available in multiple Cornerstone Content Anytime subscriptions.
Alexander Mann Solutions wins Cornerstone OnDemands sponsored categories at the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards
Here at Cornerstone, we absolutely love to hear inspiring stories and share them far and wide, especially when they are about talent management! We were recently headline sponsors of the TIARA 2020 Talent Solutions Awards. These annual awards, hosted by TALiNT International, celebrate excellence across the RPO, MSP and Talent Solutions marketplace, and recognise the wonderful ways companies are demonstrating exemplary growth, innovation and leadership. For 2020, it was the usual great awards with a bit of a difference. As we know, everything has now moved online – even this year’s Convergence! But this didn’t seem to impact the TIARA Talent Solution Awards at all. Despite not being able to celebrate face-to-face, the event was filled with laughter, engagement, and most of all, lots of fun! This year, we also supported the Best Use of Technology Award as well as the Overall Winner. The winner – triumphing in both categories – could not be more deserving, and so we duly wanted to pass on our huge congratulations to Alexander Mann Solutions! Alexander Mann was awarded the Cornerstone OnDemand Best Use of Technology Award for their brilliant ‘Find Your Fit’ technology solution. The platform offers users personal preferences and assisted future growth through interactive videos, personalised one-to-one calls, and a dedicated platform to match skills with current roles within the organisation. The solution had 1,200 employees enrolling within just six months of implementation and is continuing to improve every day. Find Your Fit helps employees to understand how their organisation functions better, including the areas that are growing the most rapidly. In turn, this helps employees to develop the skills they need in order to take advantage of these developments to enhance not only their personal career progression, but overall business performance. After all, businesses don’t innovate, people do! The judges commended this entry for “the clear way in which an innovative technology solution clearly delivered in results”. The judges also applauded Alexander Mann for demonstrating customer care by really listening to client’s individual challenges and using inventive technology solutions to help design a custom built solution that helps to support the overall internal career options and pathways available to each organisation. The award was accepted virtually by Stephen Gordon, Recruitment Tech Lead at Talent Collective/AMS. In addition to being awarded Best Use of Technology, Alexander Mann was also recognised as this year’s overall winner of the Talent Solutions Awards. Chair of Judges, Jim Richardson highlighted that “the overall winner is based on the organisation that consistently demonstrates excellence and innovation across all of its activities”. Both Peoplescout and Guidant Global were highly commended by the judges for their brilliant work, but ultimately, Alexander Mann took home the award for demonstrating consistently high standards across all areas. Jim Richardson added that although Alexander Mann has the resources to support many initiatives, it has still managed to deliver consistently on large scale and complex global projects. This is a phenomenally impressive achievement that all of us at Cornerstone also wish to say a huge congratulations for! The other winners and nominees from this year’s TIARA Talent Solutions Awards have highlighted more excellent work and brilliant stories across the recruiting sector and HR community. For the full list of winners, check out the TALiNT International’s September/October 2020 edition here.
Blog: Why HR need to lead the agile change journey
It's been going on for a while now - the shift towards more agile and flexible companies that quickly can adapt to the fast-changing times of today. Organisations that are unable to make this move are gradually losing competitiveness and finding it more difficult to prove themselves against smaller and faster players. Those who recognise the need and are able to create new conditions for the business, in the form of new structures, will survive and flourish in tomorrow's economic reality. Agile HR can be viewed from two different angles; How HR should work together within the HR team and what / how HR should deliver value to the business for which they exist. All HR processes that are part of Talent and People Management will be different when you start working agile, and each of the processes have their specific tools and working methods. Here we will look at HR from a more general perspective, to get an overall understanding of how the HR role, and the corresponding deliverables, change in a company that wants to increase its business agility. The goal is to focus on creating better workplaces through the development of teams and individuals, throughout the whole organisation. Small and medium-sized companies are easier to change, as they have less hierarchical structures, and often a more decentralised business, where everyone has an ability to make the decisions that need to be made, locally rather than centrally. The larger and more complex a company is, the more systems, processes, and structures there are that cannot be easily and quickly changed. Although it is possible to change a department in the organisation, some issues might remain that forces the department back into the central structures. This happens because it is not possible to isolate a specific part of the business. You can compare it to an attempt to change a rubber ball. It changes when it is being squeezed, but when you let go, it quickly returns to its old shape. However, there is one functional department in most large organisations that can influence all the other parts at once – HR. In many large companies, HR controls; ● Leadership programs and development ● Change management ● Organisational development ● Employee engagement ● Employee training and skills development ● Rewards and bonuses ● Recruitment ● Goal setting and performance reviews ● Long term mix of employees All these processes or areas flow through the entire organisation. These are the structures that can support, or prevent, a more radical change towards a more agile company. It all depends on HOW we work with processes and programs. They can be developed in a way that, paradoxically, prevents performance and commitment. Or they can optimise performance and employee satisfaction. HR struggles with criticisms, it is accused of being some kind of "organisational police", which hinders performance and commitment by implementing Talent management processes in a way that was intended to increase the same. This needs to change. HR has been in the back seat for too long and now it is time to take responsibility for a change in how to support the organisation. Because it is about people, and relationships between people, this is the key to how the company performs as a whole. It is the system that fundamentally needs to change, not the people. We do not need to do more things or implement complicated frameworks and methods. Instead, we need to understand how we can make it easier for people to make their best contribution to the company, by providing supportive structures, instead of hindering structures. It is through more experiments and by trying different working methods, that one can find the best path for each organisation, and each team/individual. Here, the agile principles and the agile mindset serve as a guide. Agile tools and frameworks work sometimes, but not always. The only way to continually improve is through constant learning, which also means that we sometimes fail. Companies that learn faster than others, and turn that knowledge into new ways of working for employees, but also new products and services for external customers, gain a competitive advantage and will be the winner of the future. HR has the power and the ability to design the structures that aim to either support or make it harder for employees to contribute in creative and innovative ways. If HR sticks to the old, traditional ways of working, the consequence will be rigid and non-agile organisations that use inefficient systems and processes. HR can either hinder or support the change, so HR must show the way. By providing opportunities for alternative and more agile working methods, and by focusing on value creation and value flows for the internal and by extension also external customers, HR can lead companies through changes that no other department is capable of. The next blog chapter will dive into HR's changing role.